Its June!.....How is that possible right? Not only crazy to think we are half way through the year already but that it is also the month that marks World Infertility Awareness Month!
So I wanted to ensure I marked this with a blog post focusing on understanding Infertility a little more, the causes and the tests that can be performed to establish any fertility challenges. For me I feel it is essential to foster understanding and empathy for individuals and couples facing the challenges of infertility. Infertility affects millions of people worldwide, and by raising awareness, we can promote support, education, and access to resources that are vital in helping people who face it navigate it.
So what is Infertility?
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after a year of regular, unprotected intercourse for individuals under 35 years of age (or six months for individuals 35 and older). It is important to remember that infertility can affect both men and women, and it is not limited to a specific age group or gender.
Understanding Common Causes of Infertility:Female Factors:
- Ovulation Disorders: Irregular or absent ovulation can hinder the release of healthy eggs.
- Age-related Factors: As women age, the quantity and quality of their eggs decrease, this declines on a grand scale by the age of 35 for most women.
- Structural Abnormalities: Structural issues in the reproductive system, such as blocked fallopian tubes, can obstruct fertilisation.
- Hormonal Imbalances: Conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or thyroid disorders can impact fertility.
- Low Sperm Count: Insufficient sperm production or impaired sperm function can reduce the chances of fertilisation.
- Structural Abnormalities: Physical obstructions or issues with the reproductive organs can affect sperm delivery.
- Hormonal Imbalances: Imbalances in hormone levels can impact sperm production and quality
- Unexplained Infertility: In some cases, despite thorough testing, the cause of infertility remains unknown, this can be the most frustrating diagnosis as it was in my case. Whilst none of us want anything to be highlighted as being wrong with either one of you, it does come as a blow when there is no explanation for being unable to conceive naturally.
Ovarian Reserve Testing: This assesses the quantity and quality of a woman's eggs, typically through blood tests (AMH, FSH, estradiol) and ultrasounds to measure antral follicle count.
Semen Analysis: This test evaluates the sperm count, motility, morphology, and other factors related to sperm quality.
Ovulation Testing: Tracking basal body temperature, cervical mucus changes, and using ovulation predictor kits can help determine the timing of ovulation.
Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): This X-ray procedure examines the structure of the uterus and fallopian tubes to detect any abnormalities or blockages.
Laparoscopy: A minimally invasive surgical procedure that allows for a closer examination of the reproductive organs and diagnosis of conditions like endometriosis or pelvic adhesions.
Genetic Testing: In some cases, genetic tests may be recommended to identify any inherited disorders or chromosomal abnormalities that could impact fertility.
Hormone Tests: Blood tests to assess hormone levels can help identify any imbalances or disorders affecting fertility.
World Infertility Awareness Month provides an opportunity to shed light on the challenges faced by individuals and couples struggling with infertility. By understanding the causes and available testing methods, we can foster a compassionate and supportive environment for those on this journey.
If you or someone you know is experiencing infertility, remember that you are not alone. Seeking professional guidance from a fertility specialist can provide valuable insights, personalised treatment options, and emotional support. Together, let's break the silence, raise awareness, and create a world where individuals and couples facing infertility receive the care and understanding they deserve!